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Spring Training Gameday Thread, #10: Diamondbacks @ Royals

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Do not make me break out the Hieronymous Bosch...

Los Angeles Dodgers v Kansas City Royals Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Diamondbacks line-up

  1. Josh Rojas, 2B
  2. Carson Kelly, DH
  3. Kole Calhoun, RF
  4. Stephen Vogt, C
  5. Trayce Thompson, LF
  6. Jake Lamb, 1B
  7. Ildemaro Vargas, SS
  8. Tim Locastro, CF
  9. Domingo Leyba, 3B
    + RHP Luke Weaver, RHP Stefan Crichton, RHP Hector Rondon, RHP Kevin Ginkel, RHP Keury Mella, LHP Matt Grace

It’s somewhat amusing to see some Diamondback fans over-reacting to this six-game losing streak. It’s the pitching which is clearly the “problem”. Arizona’s hitting has, thus far, sat almost exactly in the middle of the pack. Their .748 OPS ranks them 16th in the majors, and is 24 points better than the Yankees, for example. But the pitching? An ugly 8.30 collective ERA which is close to two whole runs worse than the 29th-placed A’s, at 6.37. Yet, the team’s K-rate of 10.87 per nine is second-best this spring, only fractionally behind the Brewers at 10.94. The BB-rate is poor, ranked 27th at 4.68. But the problem is largely a batting average against of .313.

I can’t calculate a “true” BABIP for the team, because the team stats for pitching don’t include sacrifice flies allowed, which are part of the figure. But with 362 batters faced, and taking off the 40 walks, 11 home-runs, one hit batter and 93 strikeouts, we get down to 217 balls in play. 89 of which become hits. That would be a .410 BABIP, which is insanely high, and even if we assume a reasonable number of sacrifice flies allowed (the median for a team on the hitting side is three), is still likely to be above .400. It seems the case that the D-backs’ pitching staff has probably been unlucky rather than dreadful so far. Though the sooner that BABIP regresses, the happier I imagine we’ll all be!